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A bit of Hollywood humor 

Updated Dec 27, 2018

Screenwriting Help E-Mail Blog

Updated Dec 27, 2018

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This week's question

I hear all this hoopla lately about the importance of the midpoint. Why is 

that so important? I don't get it.

This week's Answer: 

My Point About Midpoints 

Ah, the infamous, well-known and often greatly feared but always respected midpoint. I sympathize with you: What's so gosh-darn important about halfway through your screenplay. Can't I just keep going without having to stop and think about this halfway point? It's hard enough writing a screenplay and remember plot-points and act breaks and now I've got to get all serious about another spot, the stupid midpoint.

Maybe this will help: Think of yourself on a journey and you come across a river. For you to proceed, you're going to need to cross over. (The Doors said it aptly when Jim Morrison sang, "Break on through to the other side." In this case, you're crossing over to the other side and not breaking anything.) Your hero/protagonist is always on some kind of journey and to get to where he's going, he's going to have to cross over and pass a certain point where he really can't turn back. This is where and when he commits himself to the task/journey at hand. This is when he moves into a much more proactive state, takes on the primary challenge and goes into full action. Before he reached the midpoint, there's usually a way, if he preferred, to go back, not take on the antagonist, not prepare to meet the challenges ahead. It's as though when you reached the river and got on the rope bridge that leads to the other side, you know that the rope bridge is going to fall apart after you walk on it and get off on the other side of the river.  You know, once you cross the river, there is no way to go accept forward on the path.

The midpoint is also usually the moment in a script when the hero realizes the problem is much greater than he/she thought and circumstances have revealed a bigger truth. The bigger truth in this case could be you realize that somebody has cut some of the bindings of the rope bridge and it's very dangerous to even consider walking on it and a storm just started, drenching you in a torrential downpour and lightning is getting closer to the bridge every second. You had no idea that a storm could happen this quickly in this spot. So, what do you do? Do you run away or do you risk walking on that bridge?

I don't know about you, but I sure wouldn't. I'll let my protagonist have all the fun.

I'll be in my safe, dry office, typing my next blog.

That's pretty heroic, isn't it? 

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